Although swans only reach sexual maturity between 4 and 7 years of age, they can form socially monogamous pair bonds from as early as 20 months that last for many years, and in some cases these can last for life. The lifespan of the mute swan is often over 10 years, and sometimes over 20, whereas the black-necked swan survives for less than a decade in captivity. These bonds are maintained year-round, even in gregarious and migratory species like the tundra swan, which congregate in large flocks in the wintering grounds. Their nest is on the ground near water and about a metre across. Unlike many other ducks and geese, the male helps with the nest construction, and also take turns incubating the eggs, and alongside the whistling ducks are the only anatids that will do this. Average egg size (for the mute swan) is 113×74 mm, weighing 340 g, in a clutch size of 4 to 7, and an incubation period of 34–45 days. Swans are highly protective of their nests. They will viciously attack anything that they perceive as a threat to their chicks, including humans. One man was suspected to have drowned in such an attack.
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